Everything is good!
In the chamber of commerce world, we sure are positive people.
It’s important to be that way, right? I mean, we’re into building relationships here, and who wants to be in a relationship with negative people?
As a result, when you’re describing your day to people, every event you go to becomes a “great” event. All of your relationships are “good” relationships. Your meetings? Without fail, they’re all “terrific.”
And why wouldn’t they be? Why wouldn’t you come back to the office and tell your boss or your colleagues that your last meeting was “meh”?
The question here, though, is does that positive spin slip into your expectations for the things that you engage in on a daily basis? And, what are you leaving on the table by declaring that every meeting, event or relationship you have meets them?
Because we know not all of them do.
“What Makes It Good?”
Our company has been working with a strategic planning firm to optimize our processes as the word about our services is spreading across the country (due largely to the early success of the It’s All About Who You Know Podcast). In one of our recent conversations, I made the overused cliché of saying that a program we developed was a “good” program.
He stopped me.
“What makes it good?”
I had no answer. No evidence. No metrics. Just some anecdotal, “People have said it’s a good idea.” He wouldn’t let me go on to the next topic until I came up with one (which was worthwhile – we lifelong PR guys need someone to hold our feet to the fire sometimes!)
For someone who’s existed in the very positive, always smiling chamber of commerce world for nearly twenty years, it was a mind-blowing lesson, and one that changed our thinking almost immediately.
It made us, even in a professional services, business-to-business environment, where we always try to be positive, start to evaluate what makes things “good.”
Why was it a “good” meeting?
What about the event made it a “good” event?
How confidently can you rely on your “good” relationships when you need something from them?
The reason this is so important is because it can be a hugely useful tool to guide your expectations when spending your valuable time and money resources.
The goal here is not to look at your activities in review, but to create a stronger strategy surrounding why you’re engaging in things in the first place:
Did Will the meeting, conversation, event, relationship get you closer to building sustainable growth for your company, or make a sale?
Did Will the meeting, conversation, event, relationship help you create new relationships that are valuable to your growth goals?
Did Will the meeting, conversation, event, relationship position you for future conversations that can support your growth goals?
This is where business is done. Unfortunately, too many cocktail parties where you had a couple drinks with people you already work with are described as “good” events. And I know that I’m not the only one who’s proclaimed I had a “good” relationship with someone I last talked to four years ago.
Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Get out of that habit of spinning things to be positive, and up your standards to make sure that either (1) you’re not going to engage in things if the only chance of them actually being “good” is when you put your spin on them; or (2) go ahead and engage, but don’t leave the scene until you’ve met your criteria to be able to call the interaction “good.”
We B2B entrepreneurs and salespeople all believe that we can find some kind of value in any situation, and it’s probably true, to some degree.
But if that value doesn’t align with your company’s growth goals, then you can do better.
Now, none of this means that you shouldn’t continue to put a positive spin on your conversations* – positivity is infectious, and we all need it right now. But instead, structure your own criteria for determining if something met your goals.
Remember, you only have so many resources to expend on a daily basis, and it seems those resources – especially time – are becoming shorter and shorter.
I think you’ll find that defining what is ““good’, “great” or “fantastic”” and then raising your expectations will help you optimize those resources for stronger return-on-investment.
* Though we would advise to lay off of the “wonderfuls” and “awesomes” in describing things that are neither wonderful or awesome – don’t oversell, because then people will start to lose trust in your reviews… Think about when someone told you a movie was the “best ever,” and you fell asleep halfway through – how do you feel about any other movies that person tells you to watch?
Momentum – The Business Growth Agency helps companies develop, implement and optimize their chamber of commerce membership and sponsorship strategy. Want to learn how? Schedule a 15-minute Zoom call with us!